Bleary-eyed and rat-mouthed, Ezra Darwin squinted up at the ceiling, wondering why the clock radio wasn’t there.
“Which begs the question: What would you do to provide for your loved ones in the event of your untimely demise? Would you leave their fates to fate, or would you step up and take charge?”
Oh. That’s right. It wasn’t normative for clock radios to dwell on ceilings. Ezra turned his head. His cheek rolled into the soft, fresh swell of a pillow. God. That soothing coolness felt so damn good.
“Death can come a-knocking at any moment, so instead of praying for resurrectal intervention, why not hop on the blower and give Miracle Life Insurance a call? We’re true blue, and we bloody care.”
And there it was. The clock radio was a bit blurry and a bit… vertical, but well within reach. Ezra extended his arm and arced it downward, silencing said device with a decisive thwack. Goodbye annoying ad, and hello annoying new day! Ugh. It was time for his morning wee.
Ezra rolled onto his side, swung his feet to the floor, and sat up. Okay, so he wasn’t going to throw up yet. His head felt like a block of marinated wood with buzzing, nightmare insects for eyes. Maybe he shouldn’t have downed that fifth Balkan last night.
He jerked to a standing position. Well, Ezra thought he was standing. He hoped he was standing. And why were the walls dancing around? Were they celebrating something? Surely it was too early in the morning for celebration? He tried not to move his head too much, and concentrated on aiming himself at the ensuite door. Once he was vaguely lined up with its somewhat sideways edges, Ezra lurched forward in one gangly, awkward motion.
It didn’t help that everything was too small in this apartment. Space was at an absolute premium, and there were boxes and other shit absolutely everywhere. Ezra hadn’t unpacked since his arrival nearly ten months ago. Time was slipping by at a rate of impossible deadlines and boozy binge sessions punctuated by episodes of extreme anxiety, and nothing had improved. There had to be a better way to make a living.
Ezra fumbled with himself. Shit. Was it just his imagination or was it getting harder to piss? Or was he simply dehydrated from the previous evening’s impressive, alcohol-fuelled train wreck? He should get his prostate checked. Prostate was remarkably like prostrate, which all of a sudden seemed like an outstanding career move. His junk still flapping from his trunks, Ezra resisted the impulse to fall back, and flopped forward onto the toilet bowl instead.
He was in the process of disgorging the contents of his stomach when he noticed the goldfish looking up at him.
by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018
1 How is it that I can heal, but not make them shut up…
2 ‘Peter! Look! He’s waking!’
3 ‘My name isn’t Peter. Why do you keep calling me Peter? I’m Simon!’
4 ‘No, dude. I’m Simon. You’re Peter.’
5 ‘No, I’m jolly not!’
6 ‘Hey, man. Chill! 7 We can’t both be called Simon. Otherwise we’d be Simon and Simon. 8 How would that work?’
9 ‘Then why don’t you change your name? Pick something else you like.’
10 ‘I like Simon!’
11 Oh, great. I think I may have come to in a storm water drain. It’s not the most dignified way to greet a new day. 12 I stir, the muck and piss swirling around me, it adding shame to the pounding behind my eyes. 13 Ugh! I feel like carpenters have set up shop in my forehead, 14 and my mouth feels like a donkey’s arse.
15 I murmur, ‘Shut up, will you? You both are bleating like old nanny goats!’ 16 They look at me, shocked, but I don’t care. 17 ‘You do realise it’s possible for people to share the same name, don’t you?’
18 The second Simon looks at the first Simon with the expression of a goat that’s been goosed mid chew.
19 ‘Hm. I suppose so,’ says the second Simon grudgingly.
20 ‘Yeah…’ allows the first Simon. ‘Check out Judas and Judas. I guess they cohabit just fine.’
21 ‘I’m Jude, you dingbats. JUDE. It’s not the same thing at all!’
22 ‘I thought you were called Thaddaeus.’
23 ‘Shut up, Iscariot.’
24 Oh my god! Why do they go on like this all the time? It’s like they can’t help themselves. Maddening! 25 Did I really hire this bunch of simpletons? I must have been drunk! 26 Oh, that’s right. I was drunk…
27 ‘Don’t tell me to freaking shut up, you great protruding camel toe!’
28 ‘I think you need some knuckle bread! Shall I give it to you?’
29 ‘I freaking dare you to give it to me!’
30 Oh, isn’t this just fabulous. 31 They look like they’re almost ready to fight. Always with the fighting! 32 At least I know what can be done to soothe them. I sigh. I get to my feet. I unzip my pants.
33 ‘Elohim be praised!’ gasps Bartholomew. He’s always gasping over stuff. He’s a gasp whore. He’ll gasp over clipped toenails if you give him half a chance. 34 ‘Jesus is about to make more wine! Thank you, O Master!’
35 ‘Yes! Share with us your Holy Spirit!’ chimes Philip.
36 These self-titled ‘apostles’ crowd around me, hands cupped and reaching. All twenty-four of them! 37 God, did they double overnight? It’s getting weird around here.
38 ‘Hey, you know what?’ says Matthew, a considered look on his face. ‘We should market this. People would lap it up!’
39 How like a tax collector. Always trying to monetise everything.
1 I hate everything.
2 I’m standing here with a banging headache, pissing into an open storm water drain. Yes, we have those, even though it never rains here. 3 Actually, that’s not strictly true. It’s raining right now. Does not my amber stream arc so brilliantly in the sunlight? 4 And am I not doubled over with a sudden fit of the giggles at this? Oh, how pretty! 5 Oh, goddam. Shit. My head!
6 So, I’m trying to draw with some extra twirls. 7 And then I gaze with admiration at the acheiropoietic image I’ve made on the wall. 8 I’m so engrossed in this urine street art that I don’t notice an old tatterdemalion who happened to be sitting right in the line of fire. 9 Well, I notice now. He’s soaked, and he stinks. 10 I’m debating whether or not to apologise to the old dero. 11 And why am I still able to use big words like acheiropoietic and tatterdemalion when I’m clearly pissed?
12 God. Questions without answers. Life’s full of them. 13 Like, why is my carpentry business failing? No one wants to buy stools around here. 14 Am I expecting too much? 15 To have people want stools instead of parking their cheap arses on the ground with the donkeys’ own stools?
16 ‘Tasty! Splash some more down here, dude!’
17 Okay. 18 It seems my moral dilemma has resolved itself and that miracles do happen after all. 19 Praise… Elohim? Is that what I’m supposed to say at this juncture? 20 Here in the mud and the piss and animal shit, I’m wondering why someone would deliberately want to gargle down my number ones. Maybe it’s a fetish. 21 The man puts out his hand, then changes his mind and holds out an alms box instead. 22 But my bladder is empty now, so I give him an apologetic shrug instead. 23 His look of expectation sours.
24 ‘What good are you then?’